Tuesday, May 16, 2023

“Roots” and “Home”

Since we moved to Washington State full-time almost two years ago, I have been thinking about the difference between ROOTS and HOME. I believe this could be answered in different ways by different people, but for me, this is it:

My ROOTS are “where I am from” - and the term “roots” carries with it a depth of meaning. 

My ROOTS are in Missouri. I spent most of my 75 years (so far) there (with time away for hubby’s military locations during his three years in the USMC).

I love my ROOTS. I love Missouri. It’s a great place to live and raise a family, especially in the rural areas, which is where we always lived. 

I love the four seasons as they occur in Missouri. I even love the heat, because it is part of what defines Missouri. 

I love the wildlife and the trees and the crop farms and the cattle farms. I love the state parks and the caves and the springs and the country roads. 

I love the thunderstorms and the fact that when it “comes a rain,” I can know that it is going to be over soon and there will be sunny skies afterward (not to be confused with the months of rainy weather in Washington).

In Missouri, things just “seem to make sense” (quoting my daughter-in-law, who also has Missouri roots).

I could write a book about my roots.

When I was first married, my husband and I spoke of “home” when we were talking about our parents’ homes. When we were newlyweds and in college, for example, we would say “We are going home for the weekend.” We meant we are going to our parents’ homes, where we each grew up and lived until our marriage.

For some people, the place of their ROOTS is also the place of their HOME. They live where they always lived, likely where their parents lived and maybe their ancestors before that. So there may not be a clear differentiation between roots and home. 

But, for me, now when I speak of HOME, I am talking about where I live…where my life is…where a large part of my family is…where the setting may sometimes feel “foreign” because I’m not “from here” (my roots are not here), but it’s still HOME because it’s where my life is right now. And that is by choice. 

We really do miss Missouri, but we choose to live where there are now 10 of our immediate family (Hubby, me, son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, grandson, granddaughter-in-law, three great grandchildren) who are in our home most every Sunday for dinner, after church (where our son is Pastor and our grandson is Pastor of Worship and Discipleship).

I know the saying is “Home is where the heart is.” And that’s true. Clearly, as I have described it, I love my ROOTS, and I love my HOME. But my heart is where I live, so, yes, my HOME is where my heart is, and that’s in Washington State right now. 

My roots and my home are 32 driving hours apart. And that’s okay. This is where God has placed me for now.

My art sometimes reflects my roots and sometimes my home. I just painted a blue jay. We do not have blue jays in Washington state, but we had a lot of them in Missouri. They would always disrupt the peaceful environment of our bird feeders when they visited, scaring away all the birds who play nice (not to be confused with the blue jays, who were bossy). But I do miss them, because I associate them with my ROOTS. 

They are fun to paint because they are so colorful.

This blue jay was painted with direction from a tutorial by Louise de Masi, and the reference photo, which I include here, was taken by Richard Sagredo and downloaded from Unsplash.

#watercolor #bluejay #roots #home

Monday, May 1, 2023

“Ripple Effects”

I just finished reading the most inspirational book I have read in quite some time. My granddaughter-in-law mentioned this title to me when we were thinking of a book for our second Girls’ Book Study (which didn’t materialize, sadly for me). This book, written by the mom of one of my favorite sports figures of the last several years (Tim Tebow) is all about my favorite topic, influencing family. 

The book is Ripple Effects: discover the miraculous motivating power of a woman’s influence by Pam Tebow.

The entire book is filled with inspiring stories, written by someone who sees her mission in life as this (derived from Psalm 127): “To love and train my children as the gifts and rewards that God intends them to be and aim them toward the target of an influential life that honors God and impacts their world.” Quite a mission statement, and she has seen her mission fulfilled with all of her five children. 

She goes on to say, “I had no sense of a mission when I was growing up, so I was highly motivated to provide a framework for purpose and influence through the unique missions God created for my children.” 

Then she paraphrased the passage that I am adopting as MY mission statement, Psalm 78: “My role,” she writes, “is to tell the generations to come the praises of God, His strength, and the wonderful things that He has done, so their confidence would be in God. One generation influences the next when we convey God’s wondrous works. Tell your God stories to influence those in your sphere to ask Him to write amazing God stories just for them.”

So, that caught my attention, because I am kind of “known” for story-telling. By “known” I mean, when I start to recount a true story from my [long] past, there is some eye-rolling happening, and I can almost hear the “Oh, here we go… again.”…. Then, my rationalization is, “Yeah, but now we have another new one to our family who hasn’t heard this story yet” (and I’m thinking, “and, honestly, it wouldn’t hurt YOU to hear it again…..”)

So, yeah, I tell those stories, and some of them are stories of actual miracles that have happened in MY own lifetime, in my own family. So, yeah, I’ll tell them AGAIN.

My Mission Statement:
“I will declare wise sayings; I will speak mysteries from the past  — things we have heard and known and that our ancestors have passed down to us. We will not hide them from their children, but will tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, his might, and the wondrous works he has performed. He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children so that a future generation — children yet to be born — might know. They were to rise and tell their children so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep his commands.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭78‬:‭2‬-‭7‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Today I read further about what the Bible has to say about generations (it’s a lot—I only touch on it here).

I read this, “Modern Americans tend to think of our own life and—if marriage and kids are part of the picture—our children and perhaps grandchildren. But God thinks in terms of generations, a much longer view.”

Here are some verses that encourage us to think about family in terms of generations, generations of influence.

Genesis 9.12: And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations.”

Genesis 17.7: And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.

Psalm 22.30: A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation…

Psalm 103:17-18: But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear him, and his righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep his covenant, who remember to observe his precepts. ‭‭

Joel 1.3: Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation.

Ephesians 3.21: …to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

From Pam Tebow’s Ripple Effects:

“What would happen if you decided that when you put this book down, you would influence people on purpose through the mission God has created for you? God designed you for influence. Your role is to seek Him by faith, day by day, for grace to live out the perfect plan He has for you. God’s part is to accomplish more than we could ask or think according to the power, the miraculous motivating power, that works within us (see Ephesians 3:10). And heaven will reveal the ripple effects when we fulfill our God-created missions.”

How challenging!!!

On another note, here’s my artwork from last week:

Carolina Wren in Watercolor

#generationstocome #influenceofawoman #PamTebow #RippleEffects #MyMissionStatement 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Think on These Things


I chose to paint this flower because it is a lily, and I was thinking about this Scripture passage, Matthew 6:28-30 (ESV):

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

This is a “think on these things” passage for me. It is an admonition not to worry. I need to “think on” that. A lot.

For Christmas, I received a journal from my grandson and his wife. I decided to use it as a “Think on These Things Journal.”

Following is what I wrote in one of my entries in this journal:

I like what Courtney Doctor says regarding the following passage:

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. - Romans 8:5-8, NIV

In her Bible study “In View of God’s Mercies,” Courtney says, “The focus of your life will determine the trajectory of your life…Setting your mind on the things of God means that you think about God, His Word, and His ways. You seek the things of God, trust the ways of God, and live under the influence and authority of the Word of God.”

I tag my entries in this Journal with the relevant topic from the list in Philippians 4:8 (see my handwritten note in the journal, above). This entry is tagged

I also painted the Leucadendron on a page in my Interleaved Journaling Bible:

This Bible has a totally blank page (front and back), between each page of Scripture, allowing space to paint and write in the Bible without marking or painting on the actual printed pages in the Bible.

Note: It has been a long time since I have done a page of art in one of my Journaling Bibles. I had forgotten that watercolor does not play well with a page that has had gesso applied first (which I did here). It was a challenge to make it even presentable! (Totally different from painting on watercolor paper, as was the case for the piece at the top of this post.)

#watercolor #bibleartjournaling #leucadrendon #liliesofthefield #donotworry #thinkonthesethings

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Two Themes of My Current Quiet Times (Related?)

First of all, a completed watercolor art piece serves as my “cue” to write a blog post. Thoughts that have been swirling in my head begin to come to a focal point as I finish a watercolor and think about sharing it. Usually, as is the case today, the painting and the “thoughts in my head” are not related topically. 

A finished painting that I want to share on my blog is my prompt to also share some thoughts. Again, usually not related.

Today’s art work, however, IS related to today’s weather, coincidentally. Here in the PNW, we rarely get ANY snow, and even more rarely do we got an accumulation. It has been snowing all day today, and we may even get six inches of accumulation. While my family in Missouri is pretty much DONE with snow for this winter, I am NOT tired of it and am really enjoying it. 

The artwork for today is a Fox in Snow.

As I said, the finished artwork which prompted me to post is not really relative to the THOUGHTS on my mind. 

Sometimes it’s strange how several “elements” all point to the same topic, appearing to happen quite coincidentally.

As I wrote about in my last post, one of the current themes in my quiet times has been that Gratitude Brings Joy. Simultaneously, I am always interested in devotionals and books about stress and worry, as that is the area where I need the most spiritual discipline.

I am seeing that there is definitely a relationship between experiencing Joy that comes through Gratitude, with a resulting by-product of being able to more effectively deal with stress and worry.

So I came across a Bible study (in the Bible app) called “Breath as Prayer.” I was so taken by the devotional that I ordered the corresponding book (author Jennifer Tucker, Foreword by Ann Voskamp).

“The science of breathing and the practice of praying God’s Word can work hand-in-hand to help calm your body and reorient your mind toward Christ.”

In the Foreword, Ann Voskamp says, “…the real purpose of prayer is not about convincing God to do what we want but about awakening to what Gods already is doing and doing that redemptive work with Him. Prayer is the subversive work that defies the lie that all that is happening is just what we see but trusts that underneath, and through everything, God’s revolutionary and redeeming work is still victoriously happening.”

The first Breath as Prayer that I learned in the Bible app devotional:

Another example:

So, I like this combination of deep breathing and praying God’s Word.

Today after finishing the fox painting, I have been baking Honey Oatmeal bread and organizing a large basket full of books-in-progress, Bible studies-in-progress, prayer journals, other journals.

As I’m putting in bookmarks and trying to re-stack things in such a way that I will be able to actually finish a few of these in-progress things, I can’t help but take note of the fact that I’m seeing things on my two themes:

In my “All God’s Creatures: Daily Devotions for Animal Lovers,” the devotional for today closes with this prayer: “Father, thank You that all creation declares Your glory. Help me remember that worrying is not part of Your plan for my life. Amen.” (Well, I suppose the fox painting does somewhat fit here—All God’s Creatures, just sayin’.)

In my “As Long as I Have Breath: Serving God with Purpose in the Later Years” devotional, today’s topic is “Addressing Anxiety” and one of the suggested practices is “Keep a list of all you’re thankful for.” (See previous blog post.)

One of the printouts I pulled out of a journal to add to a “stack” has this quote that I just saw: “Willful worry amounts to rejection of God’s character and damages our capacity for the life he calls us to. It is rooted in a theological misunderstanding of who God is, the nature of life in this world and our place in the universe.

And I’ve just noticed that one of the books in my stack that I have not yet even opened (gift from my daughter-in-law) is “Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy,” by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Seriously?!

As I’m trying to organize, in a markedly DISorganized manner, these reminders of how Gratitude Brings Joy and how Breath as Prayer helps with stress and worry, and how that all of this is, yes, in fact, related—I love how God brings things together sometimes!

#GratitudeBringsJoy #BreathasPrayer #watercolorfoxinsnow #GodisSovereign

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Gratitude Brings Joy

Periodically I look for Bible Studies on the topic of Joy. Christ- following, self-diagnosed “worriers” like myself need reminders of how we should be living, and exhibiting, a joyful life.

So today I started another Bible study on the topic of Joy, and I copied the first day’s devotion into my journal. I share it here. It’s good.

From my journal today, From Roxanne Parks Bible study, “The Transforming Power of a Grateful Heart”

(Note: All italicized words are quoted from Roxanne.)

My Journal of Gratitude

Depression and anxiety are suffocating emotions. During a particularly difficult season in my life, I fought back the onslaught of both. To name a few of the issues: my teens were lying, my parents were dying, we were dog broke, and I was dealing with too many menopausal issues to count. I was spinning plates as fast as I could, and yet there was no peace on the horizon. Life felt extremely heavy! The burdens I carried were weighing me down into a miserable pit. But as a Christian, I even piled shame on myself for feeling this way. Wasn’t I supposed to be living an abundant life? BUT GOD! He graciously intervened.

During that particularly difficult season, I read the book 1000 Gifts by Anne Voskamp. Desperately needing some oxygen for living, and inspired by Anne’s story, I started journaling everything that I could possibly be grateful for. I asked God to open my eyes to even the smallest gift . . . like a knuckle to help wrap my finger around my coffee cup, like heating and air conditioning, like toilet paper, like fresh air. This daily exercise didn’t lift me out of my pit immediately, but it started a rich journey toward a new type of wholeness—a wholeness birthed through the lens of a grateful heart. 

As I continue to diligently open my eyes and my heart to all the gifts in my life, I began to recognize them everywhere. It was like there was a whole new world to appreciate that I hadn’t taken the time to see or made the choice to notice.

Across weeks of writing down and” naming” these gifts, a light-heartedness developed even amidst the trials of each day. My grateful heart slowly pushed out the weightiness of my days. I began to realize that a grateful heart and an anxious heart could not simultaneously reside in the same person at the same time. It was either anxiety or gratitude taking up the space of my heart.  I became excited to venture into each new day with new eyes to see new gifts. Depression gave way to a gratitude, and gratitude became my best antidepressant. Not just a “one and done” type gratitude, but a consistent diligent gratitude that almost refused to be sucked back into that pit of despair again. My life was too precious to live that way.

I flew through 1,000 gifts within months and decided that this was a new way of life. A grateful heart had transformed my days. Even more exciting, my grateful heart began to permeate my home and my family. So many things began to change when I changed my heart. This is a battle ground worth fighting on. I celebrated this new life-giving habit. I found that there is transforming power in a grateful heart.


Ponder the tension between your gratitude and depression, between joy and sadness. How can you make deliberate choices to open your eyes and journal all the gifts you have been given?


Lord, help me constantly and daily choose to see Your gifts everywhere. Open my eyes to gratitude and the choice to give You thanks in all things.


*So, I have read the book by Anne Voskamp. At one time I started listing hundreds of things, small and large, to be thankful for. It was a good thing to do.

I’m deciding to do that again, with the desired outcome of increasing my joy. 

Some days I will only list one thing. Other days, several things.

I need to develop an attitude of gratitude and learn to be aware of all the thousands of things that I have to be grateful for--big things, small things. 


Today I am thankful for the awareness that I am “back on track” with my favorite hobby, watercolor art. It has been a bit of a challenge, after taking a break through November and December. I am now able to move forward, and although I always know that I need to improve--a lot--I do allow myself to enjoy feeling good about a piece that I have completed.

Yesterday and today I was able to follow along with a tutorial by Louise de Masi to complete this sweet little giraffe. 

So, I’m thankful for this today.

#gratitudebringsjoy #attitudeofgratitude #keepajournal #joy #gratitude #watercolorpractice #watercolorgiraffe

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Two Paintings and an Encouraging Word

Having a bit of a hard time getting back into the comfortable feel of painting where I was before the long break over the holidays. I am not particularly proud of either of these two pieces, but I share them in the interest of being accountable. 

This is one of my favorite verses. I have likely posted it before (and will again). It feels like a promise to me. If it’s not a literal promise, I can for sure say that it is encouraging to me. 

The righteous thrive like a palm tree and grow like a cedar tree in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they thrive in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green, to declare, “The Lord is just; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.””

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭92:12-15‬ ‭CSB‬‬

#watercolorpainting #watercolorpuppy #watercolorapple #encouragingwordaboutoldage

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

2023 Already Underway!

Wow, it seems like I was thinking about 2023 being almost here, and now, the first month is almost gone! 

We had a wonderfully holiday, first with family celebrations here in Washington, and then a road trip to Missouri where we spent holiday time with our daughter and her family as well as our siblings. We tacked on a few days in a cabin in Branson before beginning the return trek.

So, we admit to being crazy with our choice of driving instead of flying, which resulted in 8 of our 14 days of “the trip” being “on the road” (and I do mean literally driving 8-12 hours on each of those days). We were pretty tired by the time we got back home!

I am just now getting back into routines, so this week I got the paints out, after several weeks of holidays and travels. I always feel like it takes me some time to get “the feel” back. 

I started with a simple painting of my favorite bird from Missouri, a male cardinal. For this one, there was not a tutorial to follow, but my teacher Maria did a painting from this reference photo, and I copied Maria’s painting, using my own “process.”

Reference photo available from a site that allows free use of the photos:

My “version:”

It’s always nice to travel, it’s especially nice to see family, but it’s also great to be back home, with our routine of spending time with our Washington family, enjoying our weekly Sunday dinners with 9 of us at our house, after our wonderful church service with our son Pastor and our grandson Worship/Discipleship Pastor.

Best Wishes for a Blessed 2023,

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Watercolor Art “12 Days of Christmas” (Part 3)

Here are the remaining Christmas 2022 art works (not yet shared).

I’ll be taking a break from art until mid-January or so, while we celebrate Christmas with our family here in Washington and then drive across the country to Missouri, where we will celebrate with our daughter/family and our siblings.

From one of my Advent devotionals: 

Jesus came to bridge the gap between us and God. He came to bring the hope of Heaven to our lives. Jesus was born to die for our sins, to show us the love of the Father. Jesus also came to advance the Kingdom of God on earth. To be our bridge in making right our relationship with God. The Holy Spirit helps in those efforts, empowering us and equipping us to be the children of God and to live as He calls us to live. - Janelle Keith

And to close out my thoughts of 2022, this verse that has had several different applications for me throughout the years. It’s a verse I love to pray over loved ones (specific ones at specific times):

“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints,”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1‬:‭17‬-‭18‬ ‭CSB‬‬

#AdventDevotional #watercolorchickadees #watercolorsugarcookies #watercolorsnowman #watercolorcardinals #watercolorhedgehog

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Watercolor Art “12 Days of Christmas” (Part 2)

In today’s post I am sharing three more of my art pieces from this year’s “12 Days of Christmas” watercolor classes from Maria Raczynska.

Today I am focusing on the profound reminders from my pastor’s sermon today (I am blessed to have my son as my pastor), in his message “Who is the Christ of Christmas?” 

Pulling out one of the most meaningful parts of the sermon for me, “The Christ of Christmas is TRUSTWORTHY.” 

Pastor Mark pointed out that in our present culture, there has been an erosion of trust. It is sad. He said, “But Christ is always trustworthy. He can be trusted to BE who He says He is, to do what He says He will do. We have an anchor, a foundation.”

My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
-John 10:27-28

#WhoistheChristofChristmas #watercolorChristmas #12daysofChristmaswatercolor #watercolorgingerbreadcookies #watercolorcandycane #watercolorstocking #Christistrustworthy

Friday, December 16, 2022

Watercolor Art “12 Days of Christmas” (Part 1)

I have always loved Christmas time. For so many reasons I love it. Those reasons and feelings have, of course, changed through the years. It’s a different feeling now that I’m a great grandmother (another way of saying that so many years have passed) than it was when my children were small. I remember those days like they were yesterday, and it was such a joyous (and fun) time. 

Today’s feelings are more somber, more reflective, more emotional, more heart-full. 

But still, Christmas time is a special time for me. 

Of course it’s special because it’s a celebration of the coming to earth of the Messiah, my Savior, who came to earth so that he could live as a man and die on the cross as the payment for my sins (and for all those who accept His gift of salvation). 

But in my own little private way, it just has a special place in my heart, for many reasons, most of which I am unable to articulate.
But I feel them.

Probably because of how much I love Christmas, I love doing art that has a Christmas theme. I follow various artists for their watercolor tutorials and classes. The artist that I have followed the most consistently since I started with this new hobby about three years ago is Maria Raczynska. Each year she does a 12 Days of Christmas series. I do not typically do all of the pieces of her 12 days, but this year I did most of them.

During the next few days, I will post a few of the pieces, along with a devotional thought from my Advent Study, Prepare Him Room by Susie Larson. I did this same study last year, and it may not be a good sign that, as I read each day’s devotional, I feel like I’m reading it for the first time. But then again, sometimes when I read a Scripture passage, I feel as if I’m seeing it for the first time, and I KNOW I’ve read the Bible through multiple times and some passages MANY times. Oh well, I suppose it’s the nature of humankind. Or typical for me, at least.

Prayer from Today’s Devotional (Scripture Passage: Luke 16, December 16)
King Jesus, You’ve made Your heart perfectly clear. I’m not sure why I miss it so easily. You care about the lost, the hurting, and the broken. You came to heal broken hearts, bind up their wounds, and save their souls, just as You’ve done for me. Forgive me for being so wrapped up in my own story that I miss the bigger story [that] You’re writing on the earth today. I want to be creative, innovative, and profoundly generous for Your name’s sake. I want to steward opportunities with an otherworldly wisdom from above. Help me to live like Your promises are true. I’m just passing through, on my way to live forever with You. Amen. (Susie Larson)

Three Pieces from 12 Days of Christmas

(I paint chickadees often. I think I’m drawn to them because (1) they’re so cute and (2) it is a bird that we see in Missouri and in Washington.)

These are busy times, but I am thankful for my hobby and for having time to reflect on God’s blessings each day. 

His love is overwhelming.

I believe HE IS CRAZY ABOUT ME!!! (So undeserving am I!)

#12daysofChristmasWatercolor #blackcappedchickadee #evergreeninsnow #candlesinthesnow #watercolor #prepareHimroom #advent #Christmas